To say 'about' as in "about a week" or to show an approximate degree of something, use ~ほど
isshuu kan hodo
About a week
eki wa jukkiro hodo saki desu.
The train station is about 10 kilometers ahead.
kore wa go sen en hodo de kaemasu.
This can be bought for about 5000 yen.
Sometimes you need to sound poetic. This construction fits perfectly into that mood.
Take the て form of a verb
tatoe sekai ga owattemo
Even if the world ends...
tatoe shippai shitemo mata ganbarimashou..
Even if we fail, let's keep at it.
Make the negative form of the verb with ても:
tatoe nido to aenaku temo wasuremasen.
Even if we shall never meet again, I won't forget.
Take the た form of a verb (simple past)
Standing and sitting
doru ga agattari sagattari
The dollar is rising and falling.
kyou wa kaimono o shitari resutoran de tabetari shite takusan no okane o tsukatta.
Today I went shopping and at at a restaurant, etc; I used a lot of money.
Take the ます form of a verb and drop the ます (the stem)
One useful set phrase is 残念ながら zan nen nagara and means, "That's too bad" or "I regreat (to say)" or "Unfortunately"
ongaku o kiki nagara benkyou o shimashita.
While studying, I listened to music.
hon o yomi nagara gohan o tabemasu.
While eating a meal, I read a book.
Asking permission and Being polite go hand in hand. Here is how you do both in Japanese.
Take the て form of a verb
denwa o tsukattemo ii desu ka?
May I use the phone?
yasundemo ii desu ka?
May I take a break? (from work, from studying, etc)
chotto hanashitemo ii desu ka?
May I say something? (I'd like to speak a little)
Not much; not really--Followed by a negative verb
Used in a negative sentence
nihongo ga amari jouzu ja nai
I'm not really good at Japanese.
(That's) not really good.
odori wa amari umaku nai
I'm not really good dancing.
okane wa amari nai
I don't have much money.
そう, for our purposes today, means, "That's right" or "That's so" (the latter being an easy way to remember)
This useful word is used in various idiomatic ways. It is best to learn each as an example by heart.
Yes, that is right.
sou desu ka?
Is that so?; Really?; You don't say?
Now that you mention it; Speaking of that...
sou kangaeru to
Seen from that light; Thinking like that; From that point of view
If you do it that way...; if done that way...
sou shinai to
If you don't do it that way...
And there are many more you will come across! Listen to how そう is used in conversation.
A) Humble (謙譲語 kenjougo) - This is when referring to oneself or one's family members and (usually) speaking to someone higher up in social rank, position or some other criteria for determining status. However even some people with high positions may choose to use the humble form with those under him/her.
B) ~masu - As mentioned above ~masu / desu is actually 丁寧語 teineigo or polite language, but I'm using the familiar ~masu form for an easy comparison to the the kenjougo and sonkeigo forms.
C) Respectful (尊敬語 sonkeigo) - This is what you say to your boss or those higher up when speaking to them. If you are speaking about yourself, you will use the humble form.
(speaking to your boss about yourself)
(speaking to your friends)
(speaking to your boss about your boss)
goran ni narimasu
You know this from "name to moushimasu"
This is the humble form for both to come and go!
This is the respectful form for both to come and go!
For a more detailed explanation and many more examples see here.
shachou to hanashimashita ka?
Company president - with - talk - ?
Did you speak with the boss? (normal)
nanika nomimasen ka?
something - won't drink - question
Won't you drink something? (normal)
nanika o nomi ni narimasen ka?
Won't you drink something? (polite)
お + stem + ください This also makes a 'normal' verb exalted; it is used when asking things - 'please give me'
Please sell (me this). (normal)
Please eat. (normal)
o tabe kudasai.
Please eat. (polite)
These three verbs are easy to mix up, but they aren't too difficult if you spend some time learning each word's function. It is of course more complex than this page allows, but this should give you a fairly good understanding.
The Word: あげる
When you, the speaker, give something to someone, use あげる
kore o anata ni agemasu.
I will give you this.
NOTE: The receiver is the one with the に particle (あなたに to you).
The Word: くれる
This is also usually translated as 'give' but it is from the receiver's point of view.
tanaka san ga kore o watashi ni kuremashita.
Tanaka gave this to me.
NOTE: Again, the receiver is the one with the に particle. (私に to me)
The Word: もらう
もらう is used from the perspective of the receiver.
watashi ga tomodachi kara ke-ki o moraimashita.
I received a cake from a friend. (My, the receiver, point of view)
NOTE: If から is used, the meaning should be pretty clear (友達から from a freind), but you can also use に to show who is doing the action as in:
watashi ga tomodachi ni ke-ki o moraimashita.
I received a cake from a friend.
NOTE: The use of に with もらう can seem confusing considering に is used to mean the receiver in the other two cases
Add さ to adjectives to express a degree or amount
Construction: -i adjectives:
Remove the trailing い and add さ
zou san no takasa wa nan desu ka?
What is the height of an elephant
NOTE: The さ shows a degree; this can be a higher, lower, wider, thinner, etc amount. (we could be asking the height of an ant)
Construction: -na adjectives:
Just add the さ without the な
kono kuruma no shizukasa wa odoroku beki desu.
This car's quietness is amazing.
NOTE: The finished product (adjective + さ) becomes a noun phrase and is treated as a noun grammatically.
Showing a completed action: just...
Add ばかり after the simple past of a verb
tabeta bakari desu.
I just ate.
tateta bakari no ie.
A newly built house.
ima kita bakari desu.
I just arrived.
Potential form of Verbs.
Before starting this lesson, you may want to review the groups of the verbs.
Construction: The ~u Group (group 1 verbs)
Verb Root + eru
書く kaku to write kak (verb root) kakeru able to write
kanji ga kakemasu ka?
Can you write kanji?
[NOTE: use が with the potential form]
Construction: The ~ru Group (group 2 verbs)
Verb Root + rareru
食べる taberu to eat tabe (verb root) taberareru able to eat